Skeletal Family are an English gothic rock band which was formed in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in December 1982. The band was formed from the remaining membership of an earlier group, called The Elements, and took its name from the title of the song “Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family” from the 1974 David Bowie album, Diamond Dogs.
The original lineup of the band was Anne-Marie Hurst (vocals), Stan Greenwood (guitar), Roger “Trotwood” Nowell (bass guitar), Ian “Karl Heinz” Taylor (keyboard/saxophone), and Steve Crane (drums). In 1983, after their first single, the band signed to independent record label Red Rhino Records. They recorded their first single for Red Rhino, “The Night”, shortly after losing their original drummer Crane, who was replaced by Howard Daniels. Daniels soon left, joining My Pierrot Dolls, and was replaced by Martin Henderson (formerly of The Last Laugh). Skeletal Family’s first album, Burning Oil, recorded in four days at a cost of £640, was released by Red Rhino in August 1984. It topped the UK Independent Chart, staying in the top 10 until the end of the year. The band began touring with The Sisters of Mercy during the Sisters’ First and Last and Always tour. Skeletal Family released the Futile Combat album in 1985, along with the “Promised Land” single.
The group then signed with Chrysalis Records and released two 1986 singles, “Restless” and “Just a Minute”. Hurst and Henderson left the band to develop new projects. Hurst eventually teamed up with Gary Marx in Ghost Dance. Henderson joined former March Violets vocalist Simon Denbigh to create The Batfish Boys. Former Colourfield backing vocalist Katrina Phillips replaced Hurst, while Kevin Hunter replaced Henderson. The remaining members of the group soon disbanded after being dropped by Chrysalis. Trotwood and Hunter formed a new band, Say You.
In 2002, Skeletal Family reformed with new vocalist Claire Bannister. They played several high-profile shows, including Wave-Gotik-Treffen three times as well as the Drop Dead Festival in New York City. This lineup released an album, Sakura, in May 2005.
Skeletal Family’s next album, Songs of Love, Hope and Despair, was released in September 2009. Two months later the group announced that it had disbanded again.
Taylor formed a new band, Sub Rosa, with guitarist Ashley Cartwright (ex-The Shakes, and writer of the lyrics for New Model Army’s hit “51st State”), bassist Steve Wilson (who had guested with Skeletal Family on several occasions and was also in The Shakes with Cartwright), and drummer Peter Kaberry (from cult metal band Dawn Watcher).
In 2012, Hurst, Nowell and Greenwood reformed Skeletal Family with Owen Richards on guitar and Adrian Osadzenko on drums.[